A Mercedes-Benz bakkie?

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The pickup, or “Bakkie” as we know it, for many is always considered somewhat of a South African phenomenon,  however most of us forget how much of a market it is in the good old US of A. Mercedes Benz it seems has not forgotten and have got major plans in the works with Nissan and Renault to bring us what will undoubtedly be marketed as the most luxurious Bakkie on the market. That’s right, everyone strap in for the new Mercedes Benz Bakkie. Now what exactly it will be like once completed is anyone’s guess, however from the concept photo I for one think it looks like plans are right on track for cornering the Hip Hop market right out the gates. Of course being based on the upcoming Nissan NP300 will mean that it will I’m sure have more than enough off-road capabilities, but I doubt any will actually see anything rougher than the top level parking lot in Sandton City.

STUTTGART/PARIS/YOKOHAMA –The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG will expand their five-year strategic cooperation into the pickup truck segment.

Together, Nissan and Daimler will develop a 1-ton pickup truck for Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz recently announced its entry into this segment. The Mercedes-Benz pickup will share some of the architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300 but it will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers. The vehicle will have all of Mercedes-Benz’s distinctive characteristics and features.

The pickup will feature a double cab and will be targeted both at personal-use and commercial customers. The primary target markets for the truck are Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America.

“Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing premium brand in the world,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “Entering the rapidly growing segment of midsize pickups is an important step in continuing our global growth path. Thanks to our well-established partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, we are able to drastically reduce the time and cost to enter this key segment.”

Nissan and Renault are already developing a 1-ton pickup truck for Renault which will also share some common architecture with the Nissan NP300. The truck, which will have a distinctive Renault design, is Renault’s first 1-ton pickup truck as well. Production of Renault’s 1-ton truck will begin in 2016 at Nissan’s plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The 1-ton pickup will mark Renault’s second entry into the pickup segment after the launch of a half-ton pickup later this year.

The Mercedes-Benz 1-ton pickup truck will be built by Nissan in the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and the Renault 1-ton truck, for Latin America. The three trucks will also be built in the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, for other markets, excluding North America. Production of the trucks at the two plants will start by the end of the decade.

The Barcelona plant will produce about 120,000 vehicles annually for the three partners, while the Cordoba plant will produce nearly 70,000 vehicles a year. A high parts localisation rate is expected to expand the supply bases in Spain and Argentina significantly.

“Thanks to our cooperation with Daimler on this project, we will be able to share the cost of investment at the Cordoba plant, while at the same time open up new markets in the Latin American region for the Renault-Nissan Alliance,” said Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan Chairman and CEO. “This project will also allow us to optimise production capacity at the Barcelona plant and enhance our competitiveness in an important segment.”